Financial & non-financial services for individual women and women-led MSMEs in Central Asia

Financial & non-financial services for individual women and women-led MSMEs in Central Asia

Identifying opportunity areas to demonstrate the business case for financial & non-financial services for individual women and women-led MSMEs in Central Asia

The objective of this study was to determine the financial and non-financial services customer value proposition to the women-owned micro, small and medium businesses, as well as individual female customers in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Republic & Tajikistan to demonstrate the business case to IFC’s existing and potential client FIs and convince them of the business opportunity. The market research covered demand-side, supply-side and regulatory/enabling environment assessment and identified key gaps, obstacles and opportunities for individual women and women-led MSMEs following principles of human centric design (HCD).

African Women Rising Initiative

African Women Rising Initiative

African Women Rising Initiative

African Women Rising Initiative

Women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa face a myriad of challenges in operating and growing their businesses. The challenges begin early, as women in the region often have lower secondary education levels and less professional experience in the formal sector. When starting a business, women are less likely to have a mentor or role model and often have a greater need to access a capacity building, supportive networks, and market information than their male counterparts.

As it stands today, financial services in the region are generally not designed to be gender inclusive. Most financial intermediaries (FIs) require fixed collateral to secure a business loan. This requirement presents an immediate barrier to women entrepreneurs as laws and social norms in many Sub-Saharan markets restrict women’s rights to own property. As a result, many women struggle to grow their businesses because they cannot meet the collateral requirements.

In cooperation with the International Project Consult (IPC) and the African Management Institute (AMI), ConsumerCentriX was selected by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support the African Women Rising Initiative (AWRI)*. This will be achieved by focusing on the demand side by empowering women entrepreneurs through capacity building, mentoring, and networking activities and on the supply side by supporting the FIs in designing, establishing, and actively promoting financial services better tailored to women entrepreneurs’ needs.

As part of the technical advisory work, the Consortium will ensure that partner FIs build their capacity to conduct market research and develop business cases to design, market, and evaluate gender-inclusive solutions. Simultaneously, the Consortium will increase FIs’ ability to provide meaningful training and mentoring opportunities to women entrepreneurs.

Phase 1 June 2020-February 2021:

The Consortium conducted a mapping exercise of all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to understand the baseline of women’s financial and economic inclusion, opportunities, and entrepreneurial activities in the region.  Based on an overall conducive environment and gaps in women’s financial inclusion and entrepreneurship, the Consortium recommended countries for project implementation. These countries have varying percentages of formal small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) that are women-led or -owned and a strong potential for more with existing conducive regulatory and social environments and/or the opportunity to leverage digital channels to deepen financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment.  To identify potential partner  in these countries, the Consortium reached out to EIB partner institutions aiming to gather insights into each FI’s existing focus on women as a target segment, desire to serve women entrepreneurs, and capacity to absorb the technical assistance.


Phase 2 March 2021-April 2023

For the project’s implementation phase, EIB will select four countries and a combination of commercial banks and microfinance institutions, to be part of the program.

AWRI will focus on both the market maker and banking on change perspectives – the market maker perspective ensures women have the capacity to access financing, and the banking on change perspective ensures FIs have the capacity to serve them well in a way that meets their unique needs and preferences.

The three-year technical advisory program will start with a need assessment of the FIs, which will be followed by market research in each country, resulting in the design and launch of a value proposition for women entrepreneurs addressing both their financial and non-financial needs. FIs will be close collaborators throughout the project, culminating in a handover phase, contributing to the program’s sustainability and long-term impact.

* The technical assistance operation is financed under the Cotonou Investment Facility. ConcumerCentriX takes full responsibility for the contents of this Publication. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the view of the European Union or of the European Investment Bank.

Inclusive Insurance

Sustain and Grow Social Innovation Program

Social Innovation Program

Designing inclusive insurance solutions for vulnerable families with young children and newcomer entrepreneurs 

Sustain and Grow is a social innovation and talent development program managed by The Human Safety Net (THSN) and Generali that creates inclusive insurance products for underprivileged entrepreneurs and their families in Servia and Germany by leveraging Generali Group’s rich knowledge and resources in the insurance field. The CCX team assisted THSN in facilitating and managing the program by implementing human-centered design, utilizing agile project management tools, and developing the business and social use case fo the program. Our hands-on experience in social innovation has provided fundamental support and expertise in designing social insurance and non-financial services.


Gender-Intelligent Fintech Design

Gender-Intelligent Fintech Design

In collaboration with the Financial Alliance for Women, ConsumerCentriX conducted a research study “How Fintechs Can Capture The Female Economy.”  The research team interviewed 31 fintechs, 10 investors and 15 industry stakeholders across the world.  The report quantifies the opportunity cost of not taking a gender-intelligent approach and shares solutions that fintechs can use to increase women’s conversion rates at each stage of the sales funnel.

Click here to access the full report: Fintech-Research-II

WSME value proposition

Building a WSME Value Proposition for Banco Davivienda

Building a WSME Value Proposition for Banco Davivienda

Providing strategies to enhance bank products and services to WSMEs

Funded by IDB Invest, commenced in February 2021. Based on the institutional diagnostic, portfolio analysis, and secondary and market research findings, the CCX team is developing a WSME value proposition and strategy in close collaboration with Davivienda senior executives.

This includes relevant recommendations on key areas of strategic focus such as new priority segments; adjustments to financial and non-financial products and services, policies and procedures; IT and data management initiatives required to better track gender-disaggregated data and monitor the success of new or adjusted initiatives; marketing and branding approaches to reach WSMEs; and internal strategies or initiatives to enhance the provision of bank products and services to WSMEs as well as to its internal customers – its women staff.

Building National Gender Data Ecosystems

Building National Gender Data Ecosystems

Our services have been retained by Data2X to support the implementation of Phase II of the Women’s Financial Inclusion Data (WFID) Partnership.

Global awareness around women’s financial inclusion is at an all-time high, yet the global gender gap in financial inclusion persists and women continue to be both unserved and underserved. These challenges continue in part because the availability of global and national level supply-side sex-disaggregated data remains extremely limited. As of 2019, only 44 countries reported sex-disaggregated data to the IMF Financial Access Survey and most did so on a limited basis.

Financial services that are not tracking sex-disaggregated data within their own portfolio do not have an understanding of existing gender gaps and lack data to build a business case to develop market approaches for tailored solutions for women. Without supply-side sex-disaggregated data from financial service providers, policymakers cannot diagnose granular gaps in women’s financial access and usage and create effective, targeted policy changes.

The Women’s Financial Inclusion Data (WFID) Partnership was established in 2014 and is one of the leading voices on women’s financial inclusion data across the world.  WFID’s theory of change is that gender data can drive policy and market action to accelerate women’s access and use of financial services.

After focusing on awareness building and outreach during the partnership’s early years, the next phase of efforts centers around supporting country-level sex-disaggregated supply-side data collection with a specific focus on two stakeholders: financial service providers and policymakers. The holistic ecosystem approach will actively encourage supply side gender data in Nigeria, Kenya, Bangladesh, Honduras, Pakistan, Turkey, Lebanon by 2022.

ConsumerCentrix, in consortium with Andafin and World Data Lab, has been selected to support with the implementation of this second phase.

gender-intelligent banking

Global best practice research to advise on gender-intelligent banking (women-led SMEs)

Global best practice research to advise on gender-intelligent banking (women-led SMEs)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) wanted to understand in detail which practices have emerged as successful ways of reaching, engaging, serving and retaining female owners and managers of SMEs

In the context of launching a dedicated gender strategy and preparing for its strategic and policy dialogue with banks and other stakeholders, EBRD wanted to understand in detail which practices have emerged as successful ways of reaching, engaging, serving and retaining female owners and managers of SMEs (dubbed “Women in Business”). The findings were particularly intended to guide subsequent technical assistance to partner financial institutions. EBRD contracted the global-leading network and think-tank for financial inclusion for Women, Women’s World Banking (WWB) for this assignment. Building on a long-standing collaboration on related topics, WWB brought on board CCX with Benedikt Wahler.

Central objectives were:

1) Provide a global screen of banking offers for women SME

2) Identify best practices and ways to put them into practice

In alignment with WWB, CCX set out the research approach, and led the effort for identifying banks to portray, conducted expert interviews (drawing also on CCX wide network of professional contacts) as well as the interviews with bank executives from selected best practice institutes and performed the majority of analysis including a site-visit in Costa Rica. Jointly with WWB’s project manager these findings were then distilled into a report format and six key steps. An extended report was presented to a wide range of EBRD-internal stakeholders at an in-house event, and an abridged report was published – it forms a key input for banks willing to partner with EBRD in the WIB Programme

  • Co-develop the research approach and identify relevant primary and secondary sources
  • Conduct expert interviews for leads to offers, discuss gender-specific needs & circumstances and identify lessons-learned in the field
  • Identify financial institutions with value proposition targeted at women-led SMEs
  • Shortlist 40 out of 90 and inspect in detail these value propositions identify superior
  • Assess digital finance components for easier reach of female clients
  • Assess non-financial components for scalability (digitally-enabled, if feasible)
  • Prepare and conduct a site visit in Costa Rica
  • Conduct interviews with bank executives to explore in more detail the success factors (strategic and operational) behind best practices
  • Derive 6 elements/patterns constituting best practices for serving women-led SME
  • Preparation of report (incl. version for publication) to support EBRD’s future work for women entrepreneurs with banks & other stakeholders